Embracing the Wild Unknown
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June 1, 2005
June 15, 2018
March 13, 2020
“Tell me: what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?” —Mary Oliver
I have a wellness newsletter that shares articles and tips on health and wellbeing. It’s part of my coaching. Yesterday, I shared an article on Inflection Points, or those moments where life pivots and takes us in a new direction. Sometimes we know they’re coming. Very often, they blindside us.
But really, all change blindsides us. Even when we think we’re ready.
When inflection points arise, they take your steady road of life and bend it at a hard angle. You weren’t planning to change. Maybe you weren’t even wanting to change. Then, up comes an inflection point, and suddenly everything is spinning.
How do you handle those moments? What are the tricks to optimizing inflection points as opportunities instead of chaos to be cleaned up?
The article offers good thoughts and hints. But for me, it’s really about the choice to surrender. Do I hold on to what I thought life should be, or do I embrace the wild unknown and follow a new path?
Let’s be clear here: embracing the wild unknown is cool and super in fashion. But that doesn’t mean it’s always the right choice. Sometimes inflection points come, and holding on to your truth is the bigger challenge–the choice to pivot into your confidence, if you will. That choice leads you to new places too, often with a broader understanding of who you are and why you make the choices you do.
Arguably more often, though, change equals uncertainty. It requires you to proceed without a clear vision of where you’re going. You may have an idea of what you want, but all you really know is that life will never be the same.
And you’re okay with that. And you’re terrified of that. Both will be true. If they aren’t, I’d argue it’s not real change. If you don’t have a moment where you want to turn around and run back to the Known, the Familiar, then are you really pivoting? (Do you even pivot, bro? Sorry, I couldn’t help myself!)
The dates above are three of my Inflection Points. Each one led to tumult, tears, and triumphs. Each one has many other points connected to it, of course. But those days all held sharp bends in my road. After each one, life was fundamentally different.
June 1, 2005 - I moved to NYC.
June 15, 2018 - I told my husband I wasn’t happy in our marriage.
March 13, 2020 - I decided how I would spend Covid Lockdown.
Could I list tons more? Sure. There are many moments and major events that had profound impact on me. And, because I am most definitely still living, I know there will be many more! But if I had to pick three, those would be the ones (so far). They are the points where there was no turning back. Where I leapt into that wild unknown and dealt with all that came after.
It’s still early in 2023. The changes that this year will bring are largely unknown. But here in January, it seemed like a good time to consider the moments that define us–and how we can prepare for the many that are to come.
Create your own list of inflection points. Record in your journal all that you remember about them, all you learned in the aftermath, and all the emotions that come up as you recall it.
Share one (or all 3!) of your inflection points in the comments below.
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